El Niño: Super Sandbagging!

Every county in Southern California provides sand bags at its fire stations, but Ventura County is stepping it up with a machine that can produce sand bags at a high rate of speed.

The machine is called a sandbagger. It can crank out over a thousand bags an hour. hundreds in a matter of minutes.

The sand is dropped in from the top. It goes into spouts and then into bags. The bags, filled halfway, are tied and put on pallets. The pallets end up on trucks and go out into the community for anyone who feels they might need them.

Ventura County officials believe this machine can make a huge difference during this year's El Niño rainy season. And, because they can stack up lots of them, the more bags the better when it comes to the protection of the county's residents and businesses.

The sandbagger came with a hefty price tag of $20,000. The money came from a grant. And, in this case, the manpower comes from inmates at the Sheriffs Todd Street Jail in Santa Paula.

Captain Don Aguilar says if this wasn't an El Niño year the department probably wouldn't have gotten the sandbagging machine but, he adds, "now that we have it's going to be a great asset to the community. Plus, our inmates working on it feel good about doing something for the community too."

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